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South Sudan Auto Review: Merc models for supermodels: New E-Class has Benz in all the right places

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(SOUTH AFRICA) – Launched in South Africa this week, the new offerings, which include AMG derivatives, represent a whole “new school” of E-Class for the German luxury carmaker — but for MacGregor, the models have stirred up many “old school” dreams and desires.

The E in auto dreams

In a nutshell, it’s Heidi, me and a Mercedes E…

So, the launch of a new Mercedes E-Class is always guaranteed to attract attention. But, when it provokes memories of days gone by and supermodels, it becomes even more significant.

Let’s be honest. We all have cars that we admire and would like to own and drive. Unfortunately, reality dictates that the vehicles you admire most are often the ones that you will never be able to afford. Occasionally, however, if you are lucky, the “admiration” and “ownership” categories merge.

The other strange thing about being a car nut is that once you have formed a fascination with a model (a car that is,  although Heidi Klum instantly comes to mind), it lasts for years and endures regardless of whatever else comes along. Hence our fascination with classic cars that design, safety and technologically wise can’t compare with today’s offerings.

Back to the honesty bit: I have had this fascination for the Mercedes E-class for years. It’s because I am an ex-Durban boy. I often imagined swanning down the beachfront boulevard (which, like my youthful waistline, no longer exists) in a four-door, four-seater, fabric top E-class( with room for Heidi and one or two of her supermodel buddies).

The E in Mercedes’ evolution

This fascination with the E-class (and Heidi) continues. So the announcement this week that Mercedes was introducing its facelifted E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet got me going. It’s a pity though that the site chosen was the Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria instead of a beachside boulevard.

Well, you can’t have everything, I suppose; but let us get back to 2021 and the Merc announcement about the introduction of the E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet.

What Mercedes said and did not say

Announcing the cars, Johannes  Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and executive director for Mercedes-Benz Cars, said:

“The E-Class Cabriolet with the classic fabric top offers spaciousness and comfort on long journeys for up to four people, while the new E-Class Coupé combines the beauty and classic virtues of a grand tourer with state-of-the-art technology.”

Quite a tame introduction to vehicles that have been entirely facelifted, “technologised”, and fitted out with more efficient (Heidi and I don’t  really care) new petrol and diesel engines. He could also have added “Oh,wow!” when talking about the AMG offerings (just a suggestion that the Mercedes PR guys may take into cosnideration for future events).

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Meet the new class of E-Class

Locally, there is a choice of two models, the E200 and the E300.

The E200 has a two-litre,four-cylinder engine that delivers 145 kW and 320 Nm of torque and delivers 0-100 in 7.5 seconds.

The E300 has the same engine but is tweaked to push out 190 kW and 370 Nm, with a 0-100 time of 6.4 seconds.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupé. Image: Motorpress

Styling inside and out

The front sections of the E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet have been brought up to date and are set off by the LED headlights and a new “diamond” radiator grille, which is standard on all versions. South African models will feature the AMG line as standard for all Coupe and Cabriolet models.

In the rear are redesigned two-piece LED taillights, and a cunning reversing camera integrated into the star module set in the boot lid.

The interiors of the Coupé and Cabriolet meet the expected contemporary styling and luxury that are Merc signatures. New-look trim options – open-pore grey ash wood and aluminium with light carbon-fibre grain enhance the interior.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet. Image: Motorpress

There is a new, intelligent steering wheel ( in either leather or sports variants) and the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system.

This comes standard with two large (26cm) high-resolution screens. These are set side by side for a widescreen look. Two 31.2 cm screens are available as options.

Next-generation driving assistance systems

The new E-Class has the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems, which includes the hands-off detection feature of the steering wheel. This system goes on alert if the driver’s hands aren’t on the wheel for a certain time and then initiates a warning cycle that finally activates Emergency Brake Assist if the driver does not respond.

The standard Active Brake Assist system brakes for detected stationary vehicles and pedestrians at typical city speeds and helps to prevent collisions.

Mercedes URBAN GUARD system

A bonus in a country where “getting a new car” can be liberally interpreted is the Mercedes Urban Guard system, which operates in tandem with the “Mercedes Me” app.

The system consists of an anti-theft alarm system, tow-away protection with a visual and audible warning in the case of a detected change in position, an alarm siren, interior monitoring (which is triggered by movement in a vehicle’s interior) as well as theft and parking collision detection.

In the  event of a collision, a vehicle’s sensors register when the parked and locked vehicle is bumped or towed or when there is a break in attempt.

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Detailed information is sent through the Mercedes Me App to the driver, who can then see what portion of the parked vehicle is damaged. As soon as the vehicle is restarted, this information is also shown once on the media display.

AMG versions for those with deep pockets

When a new Merc is introduced, it’s natural that the AMG versions should accompany it.

In the E-class case, there is no doubt that well-heeled drivers will be queueing to get their hands on these beauties. They are the E 53 4MATIC+ Coupé and Cabriolet two-door models, which (obviously) perform better than the standard models and are differentiated by styling cues, edgier interiors and technology.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Coupé. Image: Motorpress

The E-class AMGs have keynote grilles upfront, AMG Performace steering wheels, MBUX infotainment system and AMG-specific functions and displays.

Under the bonnet, the 3.0-litre engine with twin-turbocharging via an exhaust gas turbocharger and an additional electric compressor generates 320 kW, producing a peak torque of 520 Nm. The result is  0-100km/h times of 4.4 and 4.6 seconds, respectively. The top speed is 250km/h (or 270 km/h, if the AMG Driver’s Package is selected and you want to feature in a  self-shot Youtube clip showing just how fast you can go on a highway).

Wholly restyled front

The unique AMG radiator grille dominates the new front end with twelve vertical louvres. The A-shaped design of the front, which becomes broader towards the bottom, and the flatter, sharper-cut all-LED headlamps create that unique AMG look and strengthen the AMG GT sports car family look.

Other exterior features include:

  • New 19-inch light-alloy wheels with 5-twin-spoke design or optional 20-inch light-alloy wheels.
  • An optional AMG Night Package offering an even sportier appearance with outside mirror housings, window frames plus trim elements in the front and rear apron styled in high-gloss black.
The Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Cabriolet. Image: Motorpress

Distinctive interior

The interior features a luxurious materials and the current-generation MBUX infotainment system. Two displays for the instrument cluster and multimedia displays blend beneath a shared glass cover to form a widescreen cockpit.

The power

An engine to enhance the AMG experience

The 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine is mated with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission, which ensures extremely short shift times, fast response to shift paddle commands, a double-declutching function, and multiple downshifts.

All-wheel drive delivers optimal traction for dynamic driving in all weather and road conditions.

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Braking

The braking system matches the performance of the cars, with front axles that are  cross-drilled and internally vented by 370 x 36 mm discs, with four-piston fixed callipers and AMG lettering. The rear axle is fitted with internally vented 360 x 26 mm discs with single-piston floating callipers.

Drive programmes 

With the five Dynamic Select drive programs – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, the characteristics of the new Mercedes-AMG E53 4MATIC+ models can change from efficient and comfortable to very sporty at the touch of a finger. The modes modify critical parameters, such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering.

The tale of the tape

The E-Class Coupé models at a glance:

E 200 E 300
Transmission automatic
Engine 4/in-line 4/in-line
Displacement cc 1991 1991
Output kW 145 190
at rpm 5500-6100 5800-6100
Peak torque Nm 320 370
at rpm 1650-4000 1800-4000
Fuel consumption, combined l/100 km 6.6-7.0 6.6-7.1
CO2 emissions1, combined g/km 151-161 151-161
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s 7.5 6.4
Top speed km/h 237 250
Retail Price R1 036 000 R1 131 000

The E-Class Cabriolet at a glance:

E 200 E 300
Transmission automatic
Engine 4/in-line 4/in-line
Displacement cc 1991 1991
Output kW 145 190
at rpm 5500-6100 5800-6100
Peak torque Nm 320 370
at rpm 1650-4000 1800-4000
Fuel consumption, combined1 l/100 km 6.8-7.2 6.9-7.4
CO2 emissions1, combined g/km 155-165 158-168
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s 7.8 6.6
Topspeed km/h 234 250
Retail Price R1 164 000 R1 268 000

The Mercedes-AMG E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet at a glance:

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Coupé Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Cabriolet
Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G
Engine 3.0-litre 6-cylinder in-line enginewith exhaust gas turbocharger andelectric additional compressor 3.0-litre 6-cylinder in-line enginewith exhaust gas turbocharger andelectric additional compressor
Displacement 2999 cc 2999 cc
Output 320 kW at 6100 rpm 320 kW at 6100 rpm
Add. output with EQ Boost 16 kW 16 kW
Peak torque 520 Nm at 1800 – 5800 rpm 520 Nm at 1800 – 5800 rpm
Add. torque with EQ Boost 250 Nm 250 Nm
Drive AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution
Fuel consumption, combined 8.9-8.6 l/100 km* 9.2-8.8 l/100 km*
Combined CO2 emissions 204-198 g/km 209-202 g/km
Acceleration 0-100 km/h  4.4 s 4.6 s
Top speed 250 km/h** 250 km/h**
Retail Price R1 618 000 R1 756 000

The stated figures are the “measured NEDC CO2 values” acc. to Art. 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. A higher value may be applied as a basis for calculating vehicle tax.

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